Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON -- From the clamor following the Supreme Court's ruling to ban partial-birth abortion, one might assume that American women have been robbed of choice.

In fact, women can still render themselves unpregnant, in the vernacular of choice-speak, by several means. They can ``disarticulate the fetus'' and even ``reduce'' or ``separate the fetal calvarium.''

If the vocabulary is confusing, that's the point. Using Orwellian language to sanitize the issue, so to speak, is a time-honored tactic of the ``pro-choice'' arbiters. If we don't say what it is, we can pretend what it isn't.

Herewith, a brief translation:

Disarticulating a fetus, which sounds like suspending a pre-born's instant-messaging privileges, means to dismember it. Reducing a calvarium -- a thoroughly desirable-sounding procedure, like lancing a boil -- means to suck the brains from the baby's head. Separating the calvarium means to sever the head with scissors.

Paying attention to the language of abortion -- or anything else for that matter -- is instructive when trying to consider right from wrong. If you have to dress something up to obfuscate the truth of what's in play, you can probably assume it's wrong.

When a man murders his wife, we don't say, ``Mr. X rendered his wife unalive by efficiently evacuating her cranial cavity with an instrument customarily associated with construction.'' We say, ``He bashed her brains out in a brutal attack with a claw hammer.''

We apparently have no stomach for similarly descriptive (honest) terminology when it comes to the unborn. But then, one might argue, Mrs. X -- unlike a fetus -- was a completely alive human being when Mr. X committed the deed.

With its ``partial-birth abortion'' (PBA) decision, the Supreme Court took a step toward defining the aliveness of not-quite-born human beings and drew a bright line between abortion and infanticide.

Until now, a baby whose head was still inside the mother's body was not alive enough to be protected under the laws of a nation that calls itself civilized. Understandably, it's easier to kill a baby -- sorry, ``terminate a fetus'' -- when you don't have to see its face.

Now, if a baby's body has been partly delivered from its mother, it is alive enough to be protected.

Opponents of the ruling assert that this is a dark day for Americans' constitutional rights and women's right to choose. They say this ruling is merely part of the pro-life strategy for gutting Roe v. Wade, one ruling at a time.


Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
 
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